In order to support Senegal with its efforts in this regard, the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" is working with German and international partners to implement measures that include training for cotton farmers, the procurement of equipment for mechanising the agricultural sector and improving harvests, and a programme for revitalising two textile companies – Domitexka and NSTS, in Thiès and Kaolack.
The goals of the joint project now under way are to restructure the Senegalese textile industry in order to safeguard its long-term success and develop a vertically integrated production approach that covers both cotton production and local manufacturing of ready-made garments.
A study conducted by Invest for Jobs, the Senegalese investment agency APIX and the Gesamtverband der deutschen Maschenindustrie Gesamtmasche e.V. (Association of German Knitted Fabric Manufacturers) shows that Senegal has great potential as a niche market for the sale of organic cotton. The Senegalese Government is also interested in increasing cotton production. Among other things, the government subsidises production to ensure a competitive price on the world market.
Sodefitex and the FNPC, the two partners from the Senegalese textile industry, have already drawn up a project plan that will incorporate at least 2,000 farmers into the process for implementing a sustainable and environmentally friendly cotton strategy. Among other things, plans call for locally produced cotton to no longer be processed in Asia, which has previously been the case, but instead at factories operated by the two textile companies Domitexka and NSTS in Kaolack and Thiès. Participants in a field visit to those factories found European spinning machines, looms and knitting machines from the 1980s. The factories are now being completely overhauled in order to obtain the necessary certifications. The modernisation measures at the two facilities will create around 950 new jobs between now and 2022.
Investors from abroad are using the network created by the project to examine possibilities for establishing a local clothing industry to complete the value chain. Gesamtmasche e.V. is acting as an advisor throughout the process.